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Research proposal (take 2)

resistance5's picture

Originally, I proposed a research project in collaboration with Farida. However my research has taken me along a different path. I’m interested in doing more research on what Ruth Gilmore coins the “civil death.” I want to learn more about the violence being done on incarcerated individuals by the restriction of their rights and how this violence affects their citizenship and what this violence tells us about their citizenship. But also how these ideas complicates our conceptions of what it means to be a citizen. More specifically, I would like to learn more about how “civil death” aids in “maintaining the state's commitment to white supremacy” (Meiners 61). There is still some room for collaboration between Farida and I, as we are both exploring the intersection between a facet of the PIC and white supremacy.



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resistance5's picture

I began my research with the intent of finding the connection between "civil death" and the maintainence of white supremacy. I'm still interested in learning more about this topic, but I'd like to open up my research to consider the connection between the maintenance of white supremacy and the actual purpose of prisons. Civil death still falls under this category, but instead of focusing on what I believe is a manifestation of the underlying oppressive social structures, I'd like to shine a light on the oppressive structures at play.

The following quote from Angela Davis' Abolition Democracy: Beyond Prison, Torture, and Empire got me interested in this topic, and I believe it encapsulates what I want the focus of my project to be on:

 . . . imprisonment is the punitive solution to a whole range of social problems that are not being addressed by those social institutions that might help people lead better, more satisfying lives. This is the logic of what has been called the imprisonment binge: Instead of building housing, throw the homeless in prison. Instead of developing the educational system, throw the illiterate in prison. Throw people in prison who lose jobs as the result of de-industrialization, globalization of capital, and the dismantling of the welfare state. Get rid of all of them. Remove these dispensable populations from society. According to this logic the prison becomes a way of disappearing people in the false hope of disappearing the underlying social problems they represent. (Davis 41)

 In sum, I'd like to focus my project on the prison's shift from a rehabilitatory institution to one that warehouses the nation's "deviants."